REPOST Today’s QT blog, written by a former AMI church staff, was first posted on July 12, 2014.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Detaching Purpose from its Action”
“It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. 43 There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory. 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests. 45 I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.”
Today’s text focuses on the role of worship, revealing a crucial connection between the prescription of sacrificial worship (involving animals) and the reason why we ought to worship.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites worshipped God through offering animal sacrifices. The altar upon which the sacrifices were rendered was where God would meet His people; in the midst of this, God would make His presence known.
Even though animal sacrifices as an essential part of worship is what God prescribed, merely going through the motions was not acceptable; He wanted the heart as well. What eventually happened, however, was detaching purpose from its action. The purpose of the sacrificial worship was to draw near in intimacy with God—out of love for Him (Deut. 6:5)—so that He would dwell among them. Yet, the Israelites eventually made it a religious ritual devoid of the heart to worship God. As Samuel said in 1 Samuel 15:22, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” It is the heart behind the sacrifice, not the sacrifice itself, that should have dictated the worshipers, who would, then, yearn for God to dwell with them.
So, what does this mean for us in light of Christ? We know that Jesus was the perfect lamb who was slain, which eliminated any need for further animal sacrifices. Instead, we are called to “offer [our] bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is [our] spiritual act of worship” (Rom. 12:1). In addition, we are now the temple of God wherein “the Spirit of truth” dwells (1 Cor. 3:17; Jn. 16:13).
Taking all this together, we can conclude that hosting the presence of God consists of worshiping and loving the Lord with our hearts in “spirit” and with our minds in “truth” (Jn. 4:24; Matt. 22:37). The outcome of such worship is living sacrifices (i.e., good works), which cannot be offered without, first, “obeying the voice of the Lord.” It is for this reason God desires and delights to be with us, calling us to cultivate the worship that hosts Him.
In light of our identity and calling to host His presence, what are some areas in our lives in which yielding to God has been met with great reluctance, thereby hindering us from drawing close to Him? In response to His desire to dwell with us, what can we do to invite Him more into our lives?
Prayer: Dear God, draw my heart to You so that what I do is not disconnected from why I do it. I do what I do because I love You, for You have given us your Son who died for our sins so that we, having believed Christ and his atoning sacrifice offered on our behalf, can be forgiven of our sins, and are given eternal life as a gift. Thank You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 7